Speculation is rife that political leaders are working to form a new coalition ahead of the next general election.
According to politicians of different stripes, the national committee formed last Thursday to tackle the Rohingya crisis might be the litmus test for public opinion towards such a coalition.
This committee might help gauge public acceptance of a political coalition beyond the Awami League-led 14-party alliance and the BNP-led 20 party alliance.
On Thursday, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain held a programme titled “National committee on how to resolve the national crisis” at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh.
They jointly urged people to be united and to make sure the democratic rights of the Rohingya were being preserved in the spirit of independence.
Politicians who attended the meeting said they hoped that similar minded political parties would form an alternative political platform before the next general election.
A close aide of Badruddoza told the Dhaka Tribune that the national unity committee was created as a precursor to a political coalition with parties who believe in the spirit of the Liberation War.
However, Subrata Chowdhury, executive president of Gono Forum, said: “We have been trying to form a new political coalition for a while. But we do not want to tie in the Rohingya crisis with that. We called for national unity on the crisis to help the government.
“Everyone knows that we are trying to form a new coalition with Badruddoza Chowdhury, Krishak Sramik Janata League President Abdul Kader Siddique, Forward Party Chairman Mostafa Amin, Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) General Secretary Khalequzzaman, JSD President ASM Abdur Rab and Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, which we will definitely do.”
Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) General Secretary Khalequzzaman said: “We attended the meeting called by B Chowdhury and Kamal Hossain and only discussed the Rohingya crisis. Discussions for a coalition is a continuous process.
“We decided to hold programmes in five cities to understand people’s opinions on the Rohingya crisis and also will send a team of representatives to China, India and Russia to convince them to mount diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to take back their nationals.”
Seeking anonymity, a leader from JSD told the Dhaka Tribune that the Rohingya crisis may give them the ability to reach people more easily.
The committee had decided to hold large public meetings to discuss the crisis in five cities in Bangladesh, including in Cox’s Bazar, where they hope to draw a crowd of 1,000,000 people.
The politicians were scheduled to meet on Sunday to finalise the dates for their five city meetings and the team of representatives, sources said.